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MIDWEST COMPUTER GENEALOGISTS 


_ NEWSLETTER _ 

www.mcqenealoqists.org 

Volume XXIV June, 2020 Number 6 


LASTING MEMENTOS OF 
THE FAMILY HOMESTEAD 

Julia Morse 

In 1941, when my mother's Great Aunt Quincy sat 
down at her typewriter to compile family history and 
documents, she transcribed a newspaper article 
written by her cousin a few years earlier. Focusing on 
the trees in the old family cemetery, the article 
exhibits how objects and scenes become markers of 
cherished memories of earlier times. 

The old pear trees are no more. Cousin Florence 
attempted to preserve their fading memory in alcohol, 
but it was her effort to record the story that has 
survived to speak to descendants of this Kentucky 
homestead: 

The Old Pear Trees 

By Mrs. Florence Jennings Nabb 

On a day recently, in company with my sister, Mrs. 
Lizzy Pickering, her daughter, Mary Lou, and my 
daughters, Montie and Francis, I visited the old 
Grandfather Mitchell graveyard eight miles east of 
Princeton, [Caldwell County, Kentucky] adjoining the 
farm where I grew up, now owned by my cousin, 
Luther Hayes. In this sacred spot, rests the remains of 
grandparents, mother, uncles, aunts, their little ones 
and a number of family slaves. 

After wandering around reading the names and dates 
of the old moss covered stones, the next outstanding 
thought in mind and the one accredited with the 
incentive that motivated this visit, was to see the old 
pear trees which have stood like sentinels overlooking 
the old home site and cemetery for more than a 
hundred years, and were called "the old pear trees" 
when I was but a little tot. At that time, there were 


four trees. The lightening killed one several years ago, 
but there are three yet remaining. It being late in the 
season, there were only two pears clinging to the 
branches. A large luscious one which we vainly tried 
to bring down by throwing sticks from Cousin 
Luther's tobacco patch. We only succeeded in bruising 
it and had to content ourselves by getting a much 
smaller one found on a lower limb. This one I will 
show to the "Leader" as evidence, after which I will 
preserve it in alcohol. 

My uncle, L. N. (Laz) Mitchell, if living would be 112 
years old. These pear trees were planted by his mother 
several years before his birth. As we looked at their 
storm tossed, weather beaten, hardy and rugged 
bodies, we wondered what their experience might 
reveal, if we could but read their language. Silent 
witnesses to the fire that destroyed the old homestead 
more than a hundred years ago, the home where the 
family, nine children were bom, and of the move to 
the new home location a mile south. There 
grandfather built a more spacious two story house 
near the spring, on the road later known as the 
Princeton and Hopkinsville turnpike. These old pear 
trees were silent witnesses also to every tear drop and 
every goodbye spoken over the casket of a loved one. 

The old house which grandfather built was replaced 
by Uncle Jim Hayes when he bought the old home 
nearly 65 years ago, by the large two story frame 
house which now stands and looks much as it did 
from my earliest recollection near the Hayes spring as 
it was known and made famous far and near as "The 
covered wagon camping ground." Also in early days, 
the stage coaches often stopped there to feed and 
water their horses. 

Anyone interested in seeing these oldest bearing fruit 
trees of which we have any knowledge, go to Luther 
Hayes and he or any other nearby resident will be glad 
to point them out to you. As you look on their rugged 


1 






bodies, you will be filled with a sacred awe, and 
wonder how they have survived the ravages of time, 
a period of nearly a hundred and a quarter years. 

Respectfully submitted to the "Leader" 
for publication. 

Mrs. Florence Nabb, 
Princeton, Ky. Sept. 24, 1937 

Source: 

Quincy Mitchell, editor, "History of Cato Mitchell and 
Descendants, Caldwell County, Kentucky." Durant, 
OK: Self-published, January 1941, p.5-6. 

We are currently preparing this transcript for 
publication on Internet Archive. 

THE PRESIDENT’S CORNER 

A1 Morse 

A few days before Memorial Day, for the year 2020, 
I was to go to Bates County, Missouri to decorate 
graves at different cemeteries. I was going to ride 
down with my brother, Carl, and his wife, Marjorie. I 
live in the retirement community of Foxwood Springs 
in Raymore, Missouri. Because of the Coronavirus, 
we were strongly recommended to not have family 
members come to see us. So, I cancelled my trip with 
them. I did make a trip to Mt. Washington Cemetery 
in Independence, Missouri to place live flowers at the 
grave of my wife, Dorothy. 

On June 11, we made our trip to Bates County. We 
visited five cemeteries. The first one was the Oak Hill 
Cemetery in Butler. Dorothy's family is buried there. 
Her parents, Herbert and Dorothy (McDaniel) 
Newcomb, her grandparents, James and Ethel (Burke) 
McDaniel, her Uncle Jewell McDaniel, and her Uncle 
Earl and Opal (Ingersoll) Newcomb are buried there 
in adjoining plots. 

We then went to Rich Hill, where Carl and I grew up. 
About one mile west of Rich Hill is the Greenlawn 
Cemetery. Carl asked me if I remembered us walking 
to the cemetery with our mother, which was about a 
two mile walk from our house. We took live flowers. 
I replied that I did remember. In the cemetery are our 
parents, Albert and Mildred (Janssens) Morse, our 


grandparents, David and Laura (Mooney) Janssens, 
and Uncles Philip, Lester, and Clarence Janssens. We 
drove around the cemetery looking at other graves and 
remembering those who were buried there. 

We then traveled to Foster, taking a roundabout way 
to talk about people who used to live in the area. We 
even drove by the fann that Dorothy grew up on; I 
still own 80 acres of the fann. This is where Dorothy 
and I went several times in the spring and summer to 
pick gooseberries and blackberries. We went a few 
miles northwest of Foster to the Wood fin Cemetery. 
This cemetery was on the property of our second great 
grandparents, John and Hannah (Hyatt) Woodfin, that 
they purchased about 1840. They are buried there, 
along with John’s second wife, Emily (Bryant) 
Woodfin. In fact, John and Emily are listed on the 
tombstone. I used to be able to read their names 
easily, but they are barely readable now. Some of their 
children are buried there. They are Jason and 
Prudence (Miller) Woodfin and John R. and Mary J 
Woodfin. There are several blanks in the Woodfin 
row, so I imagine some children are also buried there. 
Also buried there is our second great grandmother, 
Charlotte Brians) Miller. Her husband, Oliver Hazard 
Perry Miller, is buried in Springfield. He had served 
in the Civil War and was captured and put in prison in 
Springfield, Missouri, where he died. 

Our great grandparents, William B. and Mary E. 
(Woodfin) Miller, are buried there. Also our Uncle 
Fred and Martha (Sykes) Morse and our Aunt Doris 
(Morse) and Lyle Blevins are buried there. Two first 
cousins and several second or third uncles, aunts, and 
cousins are buried in the Woodfin Cemetery. 

We then went to the Salem Cemetery at the south 
edge of Foster. Our great grandparents, Peter Y. and 
Nancy (Ward) Morse, our grandparents C. Frank and 
A. Dona (Miller) Morse, and great Uncle Peter Wade 
Morse are buried in the same plot. A great aunt, Ella 
(Morse) Briscoe, is buried in a different plot. There 
are several children and grandchildren of Ella buried 
there. Also a great grandmother of Dorothy, Barbara 
(Crowley) Newcomb, is buried there. Her husband, 
Cyrus Newcomb, is buried in Hickory County, 
Missouri. When he passed away on January 20, 1920, 
the family took a wagon pulled by horses and traveled 
from Yates County to Hickory County and brought 


2 



her and her youngest son, Arthur, to Bates County. 

We then traveled back to Rich Hill and headed east to 
Prairie City to the Zion Lutheran Cemetery. In that 
cemetery is where Marjorie has parents, grandparents, 
great grandparents, and many other relatives buried 
there. We then did a lot of driving around the area 
looking at families that Marjorie knew. We also drove 
by some of the land that Marjorie and her brother, 
Eldon, had inherited. They had much of the land 
cultivated with com up and soybeans either just sown 
or ready to be sown. 

We tried to find one more cemetery that we had not 
been to. It was the Double Branch Cemetery. We 
came in from the south to the Double Branch 
Christian Church, assuming that it should be close to 
it. We saw nothing coming in. We drove around the 
church and saw nothing north. We then headed west, 
the direction we needed to travel to get to Butler. We 
saw nothing there. We guessed if we had gone east we 
would have found it. When I got home I got out the 
1999 Bates County Plat Book. The book is split into 
maps of townships showing who was living there. 
They put a small cross at locations of cemeteries. Sure 
enough, a little east of the church is the cemetery. 
When I got on the computer and looked up Bates 
County Cemeteries, the Double Branch Cemetery is 
located one eighth of a mile east of the church. The 
oldest son of John and Hannah Woodfin, Albert 
Woodlin, is buried there with his family. So this is 
another car ride for us to schedule. We had a 
wonderful day and plan to do more of these trips. 

LOOKING AT ANCESTRY RECORDS 

Marjorie Slavens 

Most of the information we have about the family 
lines of my mother, Mildred Marie Welty Slavens, is 
included in her various family books, which she 
researched over many years. She published books on 
our Welty, Eppright, Kerr, Crawford, andHeape lines, 
but she had additional books that were not published 
on other branches of her family. When she began her 
research, we knew very little about any of her 
ancestors beyond her grandfathers, and very little 
about them. Most of her research between 1975 and 
1996 was done at libraries, in court houses, 


genealogical societies, cemeteries, and through many 
letters, some answered and others ignored. We 
traveled to these places in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, 
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. I gave 
her a computer for her 86 th birthday in 1996, and she 
was on her own because I lived 450 miles away and 
worked. She learned to use the computer and to surf 
the net, primarily on her own, and Ancestry.com, 
Genealogy.com, and Familysearch.org became very 
important sites for her, especially when she could not 
travel as much as before. 

Research on my father’s lines was very different. The 
first book we have on the family lines of my father, 
Ralph Westmeier Slavens, were published before we 
began doing genealogical research. Forest L. Slaven 
of New Orleans published two editions of his book on 
the family of the immigrant, John Slaven, in the 1950s 
and on March 15, 1963. We were included in the 
second edition of this book. The author was 
descended from the ninth child, Stuart, of John Slaven 
and Elizabeth Stuart, and members of his family still 
lived on the John Slaven property in Highland 
County, Virginia. My 3 great grandfather, John 
Slavens, a son of Reuben, the seventh child of John, 
moved to Illinois and then to Henry County, Missouri 
in the 1830s, and he was harder for the family to trace 
in the 1950s. Although we researched the family and 
prepared a 300 page book, we never published it 
because we were not able to verily some significant 
information, and, of course, Mother spent much more 
time on her own ancestors. 

My great uncle, Jesse F. Westmeier, first published a 
book on his father’s Westmeier family in 1953. He 
gathered infonnation from members of the family, but 
he also tried to preserve contacts within the family by 
attending family reunions of different branches of the 
family. He also published a book on his mother’s 
Gillman family about the same time. I found a 
genealogical file on the Westmeiers on Ancestry 
submitted by David Reed of Cincinnati, Ohio in 2002. 
He had used the Jesse F. Westmeier book as the 
foundation for his file, but he included additional 
information about his branch of the family as well. 

My grandmother, Edna Marie Westmeier Slavens, 
was the fourth child of Christian Westmeier and 
Caroline Wilhelmina (Minnie) Gillman, and Uncle 


3 



Jess was their fifth child.Both my grandmother and 
my father have told me stories about the family, but 
there is still much I do not know. John Fredrick 
Westmeier came to this country from Germany in 
1841. Although his name was listed as an English 
name, his immigration records use his real German 
name. He and his wife, Clara Maria Elizabeth Nolte, 
were immigrants from Gennany. Their children were 
bom in this country in southern Indiana. My great 
grandfather, Christian Heinrich (Henry) Westmeier, 
never learned to read and write English. He and his 
family first lived in Dearborn County, Indiana, but 
moved to Seymour, Jackson County, Indiana, where 
he worked in a furniture factory. His daughter, my 
grandmother, Edna Marie Westmeier Slavens did not 
leam English until she began to attend school; she 
attended school through the ninth grade. Members of 
her family continued to speak Gennan when they 
were together, but she moved a year after her marriage 
to Arkansas, then to Oklahoma, and Kansas and spoke 
very little Gennan when I knew her. I have her 
Gennan Bible, which she was given when she was 
confirmed in 1893. My father remembered attending 
a few family reunions when he was young, but neither 
he nor his father spoke Gennan. 

I recently found the Baltimore Passenger and 
Immigration Lists, 1820-1964 on the Ancestry Home 
page, and I decided to look at the records, although, 
after many searches, I had previously found the record 
of John Frederick Westmeier, my great great 
grandfather, who was the only immigrant ancestor we 
have discovered arriving after 1750; our other 
immigrant ancestors arrived before that date. We did 
not know when and where he arrived from Gennany 
for many years, but this record is now readily 
available through Ancestry.com. 

“John F Westmeyer 

Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964 

Westmeyer, [Johann Friedrich Westmeier] 

Birthdate: 1813, Age: 28 

Anival Date: Nov 1841; Port of Departure: 

Bremen, Germany, ship Name: Johannes 

Port of Anival: Baltimore, Maryland; Last 

Residence: Cappeln 

Other Ancestry records about John Frederick 


Westmeier were listed with this record, including his 
maniage record, Census records for 1850-1880, his 
death certificate, a reference to Find A Grave. Such 
records used to have to be searched individually, and 
this combined listing was much more helpful. 

Westmeier family researchers used to have a variety 
of different name spellings s for individuals, but this 
list was much better. The marriage record was listed: 
“Name: John Frederick Westmire Or Western; 

Gender: Male; Event Type: Marriage Registration; 
(Maniage) Marriage Date: 14 Oct 1845; Marriage 
Place: Indiana, United States; Spouse: Mary 

Nulton (Nolte). 

In the 1850 Census, he is listed as Fredrick Westmer 
with his family. “Birthplace: Gennany, Caesar Creek, 
Dearborn, Indiana, USA, Farmer. Fredrick Westmer, 
37; Mary Westmer, 24; Eliza Westmer, 4; Catharine 
Westmer, 2; Henry Westmer, 0." The 1860 Census 
listsFredrick Weslmyer, 47; Mory Weslmyer, 33; 
Luisa Weslmyer, 13; Carthan Weslmyer, 12; 
Henry Weslmyer, 10; Christoph Weslmyer, 8; Menny 
Weslmyer, 6; Anna Weslmyer, 1." In 1870: the record 
says: “John F Westmeier, 57; Mary Westmire, 44; 
Henry Westmire, 20; Cris Westmire, 17; Anna 
Westmire, 11; Lizzie Westmire, 8; Lewis Westmire, 
5; Louisa Westmire, 82." In 1880, they are listed: 
“JohnF. Westmeyer 67; Mary Westmeyer, 53. John 
F Westmeier died in 1887. 

The spelling is different in each record, and it is 
helpful to have the listings together where each can be 
easily accessed and compared. Spelling variations 
may be due to the language; they were German 
speakers. It could also be due to the ability of the 
Census taker to spell or to write clearly the names or 
the inability of the transcriber to read the written 
word. In any case, having the records indexed 
together, no matter the spelling, is very helpful. 

My father knew his grandfather, Chris (Christian) 
Westmeier, and he said his grandfather spoke English 
with an accent. His grandparents had nine children, 
and their mother seemed to be in charge. He said his 
grandfather deferred to “whatever Minnie said”. The 
family custom was that the children worked when 
they were old enough, but they brought their earnings 
home and put them on the Buffet. Their mother, 


4 



Minnie, distributed the money according to what she 
believed the children really needed. My grandmother 
used this philosophy with my father, her only child, in 
the 1920s when for 18 months, his father was not 
working because of a railroad strike. My father 
supported the family when he was in high school 
delivering newspapers, delivering ice, helping clean 
the school, working in a grocery store, even driving 
the delivery truck when he was 12. 

DOWNSIZING WHILE PRESERVING 
FAMILY HISTORY 

Julia Morse 

In the April newsletter, A1 Morse shared his process 
of further downsizing boxes of papers, clippings, 
and memorabilia, sorting out what is no longer 
wanted and attempting to find new homes for items 
of more enduring significance. It is a common 
experience for all of us in waves of life, whether 
moving from one residence to another, going 
through the estate of a family member, or planning 
the eventually passing on of our own collections and 
memories to the next generations. 

Downsizing is a big project. Loosely categorized, it 
involves sorting through physical objects, 
photographs, paper documents and memorabilia, 
and sometimes video and digitized collections. 
Some of the objects are everyday items that may or 
may not trigger memories or family stories. Other 
objects commemorate special events in time (such 
as christening or wedding gowns, military medals, 
or childhood keepsakes). For family researchers, 
there is an additional category of family history 
research papers and data. 

There are many resources that focus on methods for 
organizing your genealogy research collection or 
digitizing your historic family photographs. MCG's 
website suggests some starting links at 
https://megenealogists.wordpress.eom/2020/03/08/p 
reserving-your-history. 

What about the physical items and memorabilia? 

An Item Loses Significance without its Story. 

For most of us, passing on family-related items is 
not a question of monetary or functional value, but 


rather a desire to pass on the family story, history, or 
emotional attachment connected to the items. If the 
item is passed on without the story, it loses its 
value. Very often we hear that the millennial 
generation is not much interested in holding on to 
family heirlooms, but there is some suggestion that, 
if the significance to the family story is shared, there 
may be more interest in the object. 

Many people attach paper notes to an item that has 
historical family significance. However, this is 
often not practical for display or objects in use, and 
the notes can become lost. Recently it has become 
popular to photograph items of family significance 
(or other significance). Description of the item, its 
history, and significance to the family is then 
included with the photograph in a book. This 
preserves the memories and stories attached to the 
items in a way that can be shared with multiple 
descendants, regardless of how the physical items 
are dispersed in time to come. On our MCG 
website, we have provided links to examples of 
photobook and book publishing options: 
https://megenealogists.wordpress.eom/2020/03/08/p 
reserving-your-history. Other specific resources are 
highlighted at the end of this article. 

Devon Noel Lee, author of Downsizing with Family 
History in Mind, recommends not only 
photographing items associated with history and 
memories, but photographing (or scanning with 
video) entire rooms before the items are 
removed.fi] Her thought is that for many of us, we 
have memories of being inside our grandparents' 
house, but no pictures when we are telling the 
stories to future generations. How valuable are 
those photos of Grandma in her kitchen, or of the 
places where we spent time with our loved ones. 
We remember not just the glass paperweight, but 
the desk where it rested and what role that space 
played in Grandma’s life. 

Making Downsizing the Occasion for Memories. 

If you plan ahead to have time during downsizing, 
you can turn what otherwise might be a dreaded 
process into a special time for bringing together all 
the items of family and personal significance, 
photographing and digitizing them. Going a step 
farther, record your memories and reflections 


5 


associated with the items. Companies such as 
PicturesAndStories.com and HonorYourStory.com 
share their process for capturing your family stories 
at this times, creating a permanent digital and 
printed records (books and videos) that can more 
clearly and concisely pass on the stories associated 
with all these artifacts. This could be a DIY effort, 
or you can hire assistance for various stages. [2,3] 
(See more details below under "Key Resources.") 

Passing on the Physical Item. 

Of course, the obvious first step in dispersing items 
of significance is to ask relatives if they are 
interested in specific items. In some cases, we hope 
that younger relatives might be interested later in 
life, but we honestly don't know. It is also now 
popularly considered inappropriate guilt to feel 
obligated to hold onto inherited items simply 
because they were valued by earlier generations. 

If no one wants Great Grandma’s salt-and-pepper 
shaker collection, maybe it isn't that important to 
keep. If our goal is to preserve and pass on the 
stories of our family history, we should ask 
ourselves if the physical items we pass down are 
significant means to preserve and communicate that 
story. Is it the only item we have to remember 
Great Grandpa by? Does it tell something of the 
family's experience at that point in time—something 
they enjoyed or worked for, something of their 
beliefs and character, or their love for each other? 
Or is it just something they happened to have and 
which does not assist us in remembering who they 
were. 

Organizer Janine Adams, who is also a genealogy 
researcher, is quick to appreciate the richness of 
family history details in items and documents. Still, 
she notes that, when passing on items, a single item 
generally will be better cherished and appreciated as 
a keepsake than a multitude of items. [4] The 
suggestion, for example, is to keep and pass on a 
single teacup which can be displayed rather than a 
set of 20 that is stored in a box and never used, 
passed on for the next generation to continue to 
store in a box. (Unless, of course, you hit the 
jackpot with a relative who loves tea parties.) 


Some people find it impractical to keep hanging on 
to items such as every mother's wedding dress 
packed away and only taken out occasionally. They 
will preserve these with photographs and look for 
ways to memorialize the item by retaining fabric 
samples for a shadowbox, or possibly even 
converting the fabric into an item that might be used 
or displayed in the home. There is an online market 
for vintage clothing in good condition. Antique or 
vintage clothing (particularly designer, or with 
unique design elements) may be of interest to the 
Historic Costume and Textile Museum at Kansas 
State University, https://www.hhs.k- 
state. edu/hctm/ about/donate/. 

If the item tells something of life in the historical 
time and place of the family, it may be an object 
that would be valued within the collections of a 
local history museum. With a little bit of searching, 
you may be able to find special museums or 
research libraries interested in particular items or 
collections, such as railroad museums, military- 
interest museums, agricultural history, African- 
American history, etc. 

To pass on unique cookbooks (including church 
cookbooks), you can contact the Kansas State 
University Library for possible donation to their 
Cookery Collection: https://www.lib.k- 

state.edu/cookery-collection. 

In cases in which things must be donated to a thrift 
store, Janine Adams encourages us to have faith that 
the thrift store is likely the best chance of getting 
that item to the person who will be delighted to 
have it. [4] 

Personally Sentimental Items 

Our own memorabilia generally includes items that 
are sentimental only to ourselves. We need to 
consider if these items are significant to pass on as 
family history. I believe it was Margareta 
Magnusson, author of The Gentle Art of Swedish 
Death Cleaning, who recommended putting 
personally sentimental items in a box to keep for 
yourself, but label them as "no need to keep after 
my death." Of course, your family could sort them 
retain items if they wanted to, but you have made it 
easy for them to let go without guilt. 


6 


However, do keep letters (unless there is content 
which you do not wish preserved). Family history 
researchers often love to have records of family and 
friends, what was significant to their lives, where 
they lived, and what they wrote about. The wedding 
guest list or funeral registry records friends and 
family. Even greeting cards from loved ones leave 
a record of the relationships and may be significant 
(depending on the amount, storage requirements, 
etc.). Descendants enjoy knowing how people 
cared. Keep the envelopes with the letters; the 
addresses and postmark are significant. (If you are 
archiving, place the sheet open flat in an archival 
quality sleeve with the envelope.) 

Concluding thoughts 

When in doubt, I try to put myself in the shoes of a 
descendant 40 or 50 years from now and use that as 
a guide. What would they wish to have a taste of, 
and what would be overkill? What elements about 
our lives are really the most important? I think of 
whether an item would be something I would have 
cherished if preserved from my own grandparents’ 
lives. If you have a family historian willing to take 
the collection, you may let them do the culling. If 
the historian is reluctant or limited on the number of 
boxes to take, then you may have to be more 
selective. 

If you are going to pass items on, make sure you 
preserve and include the stories that go with them. 

Amy Johnson Crow of Generations Cafe reassures 
us that "It's okay to let things go. . . . An item in and 
of itself doesn't have value. It's what that item 
represents—the person or the memory—that is the 
real value. Getting rid of an item is not the same as 
getting rid of that memory or that person." [5] Time 
put into preserving the stories may be the best time 
spent toward our desired goal. 

Key Resources for Downsizing: 

(1) Downsizing with Family Histoiy in Mind by 
Devon Noel Lee and Andrew Lee of Family History 
Fanatics, available as a Kindle eBook or print at 
Amazon: 
https://www.familyhistoryfanatics.com/downsizing 


Having moved households many times and cleared 
out the estates of family or friends (sometimes 
under an extreme time crunch), the Lees pass on 
plans and checksheets for downsizing, with the 
method adjusted according to the level of time 
constraint. As the "Family History Fanatics," they 
cherish family history, but also operate under the 
practicality of time and space, and share what they 
have learned from past mistakes and now 
recommend. You can learn more about their 
suggestions free in a YouTube video discussion 
between Devon and Lisa Lisson (of "Are You My 
Cousin"): 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYfcfYXts54 

(2) How to Save your Stuff: Curating your Family 
Histoiy Assets by Tom and Alison Taylor of 
PicturesAndStories.com, a free eBook at 
https://www.picturesandstories.com/downloads. 
Also, Alison's related RootTech 2019 presentation 
"From Mountains to Megabytes: Organizing and 
Archiving Your Stuff," (video) 
https://youtube/5cuPmUpem04. Pictures and 
Stories looks at a person's belongings and 
collections as potential "Family History Assets" to 
be preserved and then used as a springboard for 
recording that family's story in book format 
(digitizing and cataloging all your historical assets 
along the way). Their free eBook details the 
following steps to simplify and streamline your life 
story "assets": 

a. Locate and identify your personal and family 
history assets. 

BDecide what is important to you. 1. rganize your 
materials. Sort. Sift. Cull. Prioritize. Caption. 

1. Digitize—Scan your assets. 2.Create your 

archive: digital and physical—Save your 
archive in multiple formats and places. 

3. Prepare and share — Focus on a facet of your 
life and present that aspect in a book. 

Pictures and Stories provides additional resources 
on their website for you to carry out this process 
yourself, or to work with them to create beautiful 
pictorial books that tell your family story. 

(3) "Downsizing: A Time for Reminiscence and 
Capturing Family History," by Rhonda Barrett of 
Honor Your Story, 
https://www.thelifestoryprofessionals.org/2019/05/! 


7 


3/downsizing-a-time-for-reminiscenc e-and- 
capturing-family-history/ 

Rhonda provides a brief practical article on a 
similar process of gathering up all your important 
items, archiving them, and then using the 
compilation as a basis to record your family's story. 
She outlines the following elements to compile into 
your family history archive during the process of 
downsizing: 

Scan imagery - photos, negatives, and slides. 

a. Digitize home movies. 

b. Scan documents. 

c. Print electronic documents and photos. 

d. Photograph collections. 

e. Transcribe interviews (oral history recordings) 
and create printed copies. 

f. Store physical items using proper archival 
materials. 

g. Store digital archive in multiple places. 

Rhonda specializes in helping families convert 
their story to video fonnat. Samples of her 
videos can be viewed at 
https://www.honoryourstory.com/videos. 

(4) "Downsizing and Family History," 
Generations Cafe Podcast Episode 35, with 
Amy Johnson Crow of and guest Janine 
Adams of "Organizing your Family History," 
https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/downsizin 
g-and-family-history/. As family historians, 
both Amy and Janine affirm the value of 
keeping documents—yes even the cards from 
the floral donations at Grandpa's funeral—for 
family research. Yet, they affirm that you can't 
keep everything. As both a professional 
organizer and a genealogy researcher, Janine 
gives her suggestions in this 36 minute 
podcast. 

(5) The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning 
by Margareta Magnusson (Simon and 
Schuster, available everywhere in print, 
eBook, and audio format) 

While not specifically geared to family 
history, this book is recommended by family 
history researchers discussing this topic. Mrs. 
Magnusson's approach respects meaningful 
items and embraces giving it away before we 
die in a way that does not burden future 


generations. The emphasis is on finding 
meaning, joy, and humor in the experience 
while letting go. 

(6) MCG's own resource page: "Preserving 
Your History for Future Generations," 
https://megenealogists.wordpress.eom/2020/0 
3/08/preserving-your-history. We provide 
suggestions for digital and physical archives 
which may be able to share your historical 
items with others. 

Sources: 

[1] Lisa Lisson and Devon Noel Lee, 
"Downsizing with Family History in Mind," 
YouTube Channel LisaLisson, 27 Mar 2020, 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYfcfYX 
ts54. 

[2] Tom Taylor and Alison Taylor, How to 
Save your Stuff: Curating your Family History 
Assets, PicturesAndStories.com, 
https://www.picturesandstories.com/download 
s. 

[3] "Downsizing: A Time for Reminiscence 

and Capturing Family History," by Rhonda 
Barrett, TheLifeStoryProfessionals.org, 13 
May 2019, 

https://www.thelifestoryprofessionals.org/201 
9/05/13/downsizing-a-time-for-reminiscence- 
and-capturing-family-history/ 

[4] Amy Johnson Crow and Janine Adams, 

"Downsizing and Family History," 
Generations Cafe Podcast, Episode 35, 3 Oct 
2 0 19 , 

https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/downsizin 
g-and-family-history/. 

[5] Amy Johnson Crow, "3 Unexpected 
Things I Learned in Downsizing," Generations 
Cafe, 17 Oct 2019, 
https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/3- 
unexpected-things-i-learned-in-downsizing/ 

OFFICERS 

A1 Morse, President 
Byron Gilbreath, Treasurer 
Marjorie Slavens, Newsletter Editor 
Julia Morse, Website Administrator, 

Digital Librarian 


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